NB This is not a question on how to use the said terms. This is not a question on what the said term mean. It might just seems like so.

Starting with the following sentences.

It's insulting that OP needs to explain himself for each case. Sometimes he should but not always.

Now, to make it gender neutral, I rephrased to the singular they.

It's insulting that OP need to explain themself for each case. Sometimes they should but not always.

The main question is this. What is the name of this rephrasal? I.e. what is the grammatically correct (possible very formal and to most people unfamiliar) term that describes such a transition?

My best guess is "numerus based gender neutralization". Like it?

The second question is this. I removed the ending "s" from "needs" in order to follow the plurality of the exchanged words (i.e. I'm intentionally making the mistake to fail to realize that it's a singular "they"), although "OP" still is singular. What's that error called grammatically correct?

My best guess is "bogus plurality based numerus incongruence". I don't like it at all...

NB My dictionary says that it's called "numerus" but I'm not sure it's the correct term neither. By numerus I refer to the collective set of singular and plural.

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    It is politically correct, not grammatically correct. – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Aug 10 '14 at 19:59
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    It would be called the same thing as the use of you in the singular is called; a singular use of a plural pronoun. Happens all the time. In this case it's the third-person singular use of plural they/their/them to refer to a non-specific indefinite human referent. Specifically, this is a use of the reflexive third-person pronoun, and that's doubly-inflected. Here the form themself is unambiguously singular, with the non-specific singular use of plural third-person them attached. Might as well get some use out of all that inflection. – John Lawler Aug 10 '14 at 20:25
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    @Mr.ShinyandNew安宇 "Euery creature That ys gylty and knowyth thaym-self coulpable" (OED themself, I. 2.) seems a bit old to be a recent coining :-) Themself was the only one, then coexisted with themselfs and themselves, fell out of favor, and now is back in. Some style guides are starting to come around on it, and I've seen a number of academic papers that use it as well (myself included). – user0721090601 Aug 10 '14 at 23:45
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    @tchrist The question is not about singular they. As I kindly pointed out, you're mistaken as to what the question asks. I suggest that you take a step back and re-regard the question from some perspective (you might want to use the actual and correct answer to guide you, if it helps). I'm not looking to start a infected discussion here so I hope that the readers can respect that I know what I'm asking about. (The fact that an answer's been given implies that others got that too, so it's not a matter of formulation.) The question stays as is. Thank you. Downvoting was uncalled for. – Konrad Viltersten Aug 12 '14 at 5:14

Part 1: I've not really ever heard a term used for this other than just gender neutralization. Since that can be done other ways, via he/she or most traditionally just using he, I'd say gender neutralization with singular they. Otherwise, I mean, we could go to the extreme and say gender neutralization via usurpation of the indeterminate/neuter/generic plural by the singular in the third person or something over the top like that. Edit: John in the comments had a good one that could be further adapted as third-person singular use of third person plural pronouns to refer to a non-specific indefinite human referent

Parte 2: A mistake of this type would likely just be called a subject-verb agreement error. If I had to go with a more formal name, I'd probably say hypercorrection of verb number due to (influence of) singular they. Not sure there's any other way to crunch that down further and still make sense and maintain specificity.

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  • Besides the fact that it sounds unnatural and forced, is the usage of the term themself correct? Or should I use a different term (e.g. themselves)? In case you wonder WTF I'm asking this, let me introduce to the Kingdom of Sweden where extreme and pain-in-the-ass'ly forced feminism is our national sport. Nevertheless, I'd like to know how off from the proper grammar it is (it's far from natural and accepted state, of course, but that's beside the point here). – Konrad Viltersten Mar 19 '19 at 19:26

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